3 Important Things to Know About Impaired Driving
Driving impaired can seem like a challenging topic, with many potential consequences. Luckily, it’s one that most drivers have encountered at some point in their life and can be fixed with a few simple actions. Even as a seasoned driver, if you haven’t had much experience driving and you aren’t familiar with the road conditions, you may not always recognize the signs of being impaired.
Driving under the influence not only affects you directly but also other drivers on the street, people walking along the sidewalk, and innocent pedestrians who happen to be in the vicinity at that time. That is why it is so important to know how much alcohol it takes to drive, what impaired driving looks like, and what are the possible consequences if you do drive while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug.
Here, we will outline the 3 most important things that you need to know about driving impaired.
1. What Does Impaired Driving Look Like?
Impairment is defined as a reduced mental or physical capability. It can be caused by substances, diseases, or injuries, and this state can be temporary or permanent. Driving while impaired is any form of driving that a person does while mentally or physically unfit to be behind a wheel, or when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) falls below the legal limit.
You may wonder how many drinks qualify as the “legal limit,” but BAC is measured not by number of units, but rather, the blood-alcohol concentration of a person’s body. Most commonly, drinking under the influence is qualified when a person has a BAC level greater than 0.05%.
Additionally, it isn’t just alcohol that is tested, or that is categorized as impaired driving. It also includes all types of driving, including driving after consuming drugs, or medication, or being unfit to drive due to illness. Impaired driving also includes any other type of behavior that affects one's ability to safely operate a vehicle. It can include things like speeding, following too closely, running red lights, and making improper turns.
2. How is a Person’s Blood Alcohol Measured?
Blood alcohol content can be measured by several different methods, including breathalyzer tests, blood tests, or urine tests. Breathalyzer tests are used most often to test whether someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, especially when stopped if they are driving while impaired.
Breathalyzers use infrared technology to detect the amount of alcohol in someone's breath. The device also measures other factors, such as temperature, heart rate and perspiration. Breathalyzers are available in a variety of models, including handheld models and portable devices that can be mounted on the car dashboard.
Alternative methods, such as a blood or urine test, are also used. A blood test measures BAC using a blood sample taken from an arm vein. Urine tests are used when there is no easy way to get a blood sample (for example, when someone is unconscious) or when more accurate BAC measurements are needed (for example, if someone has been drinking for a long time).
3. When to Consult a Lawyer About Impaired Driving Charges
If you are charged with impaired driving, you should consult a lawyer immediately. Depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the charges, you could face severe consequences, and a lawyer will be able to assess your case and advise you about the potential outcomes.
While there is no "right" time to hire a lawyer, it's never too late to start. By consulting a lawyer early on, you'll have more time to prepare your case and build a strong defense, and you might even be able to reduce your charges or have them dropped altogether if you have legal representation.
A lawyer can also help you deal with the consequences of an impaired driving charge, such as losing your driver's license or being required to participate in alcohol treatment. Since their job is to help clients navigate the complications of the justice system and to protect your rights, it never hurts to consult a lawyer in these situations.
And there you have it – 3 of the most important things to know about impaired driving. While this list included the most vital aspects of getting charged with a DUI or impaired driving, there are plenty of other details that you might want to know.
Doing your homework and understanding the consequences of a DUI charge will help you greatly if you are facing these serious legal accusations.